Speed Reads

'I'm Allowed To'

Trump, who votes by mail, calls other mail-in voting 'very dangerous' and 'corrupt'

President Trump was asked at Tuesday's coronavirus press briefing about a push to expand mail-in voting in the 2020 election, and he did not appear receptive to the idea. "Mail ballots are a very dangerous thing for this country," Trump said, without evidence. "The mail ballots are corrupt, in my opinion. And they collect them, and they get people to go in and sign them, and then there's forgeries in many cases. It's a horrible thing." A reporter noted that Trump votes by mail in Florida, and the president said that's different "because I'm allowed to."

A North Carolina Republican operative was caught manipulating absentee ballots in 2018, but "there is no evidence that voting by mail results in significant fraud," says Matthew Harwood at New York University's Brennan Center for Justice. "As with in-person voting, the threat is infinitesimally small." In fact, he added, "much of the country now votes by mail," and it's the primary means of voting in California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. Ensuring "that anyone who has the right to vote can exercise that right as simply and safely as possible," especially during a pandemic, "shouldn't be a partisan issue but a patriotic duty," Harwood argues.

Ohio's Republican leaders pushed back their election and shifted most of the voting to mail-in ballots, but other Republican officeholders oppose anything bu in-person voting. Last month, Trump argued on Fox & Friends, again without evidence, that a push by House Democrats to allow vote-by-mail nationally would be ruinous for Republican candidates.

Georgia House Speaker David Ralston (R) made a similar argument last week, claiming that widespread use of absentee mail-in voting would "be extremely devastating to Republicans and conservatives in Georgia," because "every registered voter is going to get one of these" and "this will certainly drive up turnout."